Packing Tips for Short and Long-term Travel

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Whether your bags are ready a week before take off or you’re the type who throws your clothes together hours before rushing to the airport, what you take with you on your trip makes a difference. 

Veteran travelers know that the ideal packing list changes based on several factors. What is the temperature like this time of year? Are malls on every corner or will you go days without seeing a single store? Then there are the practical limitations, like your trip’s duration and your airline’s luggage guidelines. 

If you’re in doubt about what you can take with you and what might be best left at home, read on. 

Packing for a Weekend trip

Weekend trips are meant to be brisk and refreshing. Pack wisely and you won’t have to spend a single precious moment on buying practical items. 

Nearly everything you need for a two-day stay should fit in an overnight bag. The key to a perfect weekend packing list is narrowing down what you will need for your planned activities. 

Purchase travel-sized versions of all your daily toiletries and condense them into a clear, zip top pouch. This makes going through customs a breeze and prevents any popped or spilled substances from ruining your other items. 

Since you can only bring so many clothing items with you, stick to items in the same color story. One pair of denim and a pair of trousers will carry you through most situations. Throw in a few tops in neutral colors and a thin sweater or sweatshirt for layering. By packing cohesive pieces, you can mix and match without too much thought.

In addition to the basic undergarments, socks, and layers, your clothing choices should reflect your plans. Will you be hiking and spending most of the day outdoors? Arrive to the airport in your hiking boots and pack your sneakers or flats in your bag. If your plans lean more towards nightclubs and fancy dinners, pack one dressy outfit and a pair of fancy shoes. 

Packing for a Two Week Vacation

If the point of your getaway is to disconnect and unwind, a 7 to 10-day trip is ideal. Travelers crossing time zones appreciate the extra days to acclimate and settle in, while getting the opportunity to go on day trips and excursions. 

Two-week trips have a lot more unknown factors than weekend trips, so travelers should pack accordingly. For example, if you are heading to a place known for its fickle weather, you may experience all four seasons during your stay. To save space, wear your coat on arrival and pack a lightweight, waterproof jacket in your suitcase.

Travel-sized toiletries may not be enough for a vacation this long. If you must use a specific brand of shampoo or body wash, store it in your check-in bag. Otherwise, load up on full-sized toiletries from shops in the airport. Most airlines do not count duty free shopping towards your baggage allowance. 

However, if you’re going on a connecting flight, you may have to go through a second security check. In this case, save duty free shopping until you have reached your destination. 

Packing for a Three Month Stay

So, you’re taking a sabbatical with the Peace Corp or heading on the luxury adventure of a lifetime?  Packing for a longer, but temporary stay can be a bit of a challenge.  You can make more effective choices by doing a bit of research on your destination. 

Look for social media groups or forums for Americans living in that country. These sites are troves for insider information about items that may be impossible or expensive to procure while abroad. You can also read advice from travel bloggers.

From there, pack extras of the items you cannot live without. For example, if you discover that your shoe or clothing size is difficult to find in your destination, bring as much clothing as you can. 

You should also make space for items like unique spice blends and hygiene products. Don’t be caught off guard when you land and find that your preferred deodorant is nowhere to be found!

A three-month stay means you’ll have plenty of downtime to do more mundane things like pick up a phone charger or a plug converter. In fact, it may actually be cheaper to purchase some items in-country than paying for extra bags or weight to bring the item with you. Pack a few portable chargers to last you the trip, and get anything else you may need after arrival. 

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